Activists are calling a Christian group which claims to offer a cure for homosexuality 'dangerous' as its controversial 'gay leper' conference begins in London.
The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) is 'up in arms' about the Core Issues Trust's Lepers Among Us event, which runs today (27 January) at the Emmanuel Centre in the British capital's Westminster area, from 10am-8pm.
The non-profit organization advocates so-called 'reparative therapy', claiming it can help gay people become straight.
But LGCM chief executive, Reverend Sharon Ferguson, says the conference is derogatory to the LGBT community and its gay cure claim is 'a very dangerous thing.'
'I often end up working with people who have been through reparative therapies,' she told Gay Star News.
'I help them get over the damage which has been done to them. So I am very aware of how horrendous this can be.
'We need to look at the messages we are giving out to people. There are far too many young people still committing suicide because they believe it is sinful to be gay. They feel there is nobody they can talk to about it.
'We should be concentrating on how to give out positive messages so they find it easier to reconcile their homosexuality with their spirituality and don’t have to make a choice.'
It also launched a petition, already garnering more than 400 signatures, calling for an investigation into Core Issues Trusts' charitable status.
In response, the UK Council for Psychotherapy condemned reparative therapy and revealed the British Psychodrama Association would investigate one of the trust's co-directors Mike Davidson.
In an official statement sent to The Belfast Telegraph, the trust said the conference was aimed at exploring the role of evangelical and orthodox churches in supporting men and women with 'unwanted same sex attractions'.
'Core Issues does not offer so-called reparative or conversion therapy but does offer support to individuals conflicted in religious and sexual identity, within a specific ethical framework,' it added.
'It reserves the right to offer alternative orthodox views to those who choose to prioritise a religious identity over their sexual identity.'